Devotional: Repent!... and then believe

In the last couple of days we have seen that, since God does not change, the only option left to us is to change our ways and thoughts if we want to harmonize with God, agree with God, and thus be able to accept God's invitation to walk in fellowship with Him.

Now I'm going to explain more fully what's involved in this process of changing the way we think. It's of the utmost importance.

The Bible has a special word for this: "repentance." Repentance means literally "to change your mind," that is "to change the way you think." And all through the New Testament, this is stated as the primary requirement for reconciliation with God. There is no way for man, with all his different ways and thoughts to be reconciled with God unless he changes the way he thinks; that is, unless he repents.

Let's just take a few quick examples from the New Testament. In Mark, chapter 1, verses 2 through 4, Mark gives the introduction to the gospel ministry of Jesus.

"It is written in Isaiah the prophet: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way"‑‑ "a voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" And so John [That's John the Baptist] came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." (NIV)

The key word in John's ministry was "repentance," and that was needed to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah Jesus. Until God's people had been confronted with a need to change their way of thinking, they were not ready to receive the Messiah.

And then a little further on in Mark 1, verses 14 and 15, Mark describes the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus.

"After John [the Baptist] was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. [That's the Gospel.] "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (NIV)

Notice the first commandment Jesus gave in His public ministry was "Repent, change the way you think", and only after that can people believe. It's a great error to imagine that we can, in a true sense of the word "believe" until we have repented. It's always repent first, then believe.

Lord, I want repentance to be my lifestyle, always turning back to Your plans and ideas and turning away from the things of this world. On the basis of that, my thinking will change and my faith grows! Amen.

This devotional is taken from

Agreeing with God

God invites you to fellowship with Him, but to do this you must bring your ways and thoughts into line with His.

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